Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Waiting for Gateau

The other day I experienced a delicious freedom (thus my title, which is French for cake). Driving home from teaching a late morning yoga class, I suddenly realized that no one was waiting for me. I stopped at a pricy grocery store where I shopped leisurely without spending too much, and then ordered a decaf chai. I stopped at the bank and the gas station, and took my time unloading my car. Sounds like an ordinary day? Au contraire.

Why would this be cause for celebration? Perhaps it’s because even though knowing that someone or something (a puppy, cat, or even a fish needing to be fed) is waiting for us can be a warm and fuzzy feeling, it can also cause us to rush, feel distracted, pressured, or guilty about “taking our time.” In fact there’s something slightly distasteful about that very phrase when it’s said in a certain manner, i.e. “She’s certainly taking her time in bringing our coffees.” Sigh.

It’s lovely knowing that someone is waiting at home, and I am grateful for the years, nay decades, when my children were waiting for me to get back from wherever I was even if I was gone only for a brief interlude. It was charming to know that they loved me so much that my very absence caused tears, even if I had just run down to the corner to buy milk. I also admit it’s heart-warming when my husband welcomes me home with open arms and says, “Where were you? I was worried!” (Words my mom used to say all too often.) I appreciate the fact that he gives a damn about where I am, and is happy when I’m back (even if it’s just because I promised to make dinner). I’m also aware that when my recent-grad son moves out of the house again, empty nest syndrome will most likely rear its ugly head and I’ll be miserable (at least for a few weeks).

Still…being waited for can be taxing. It can cause us to gulp down our lunch or forget to buy stamps or trip over curbs in our haste to alleviate the torment of the one who waits. It’s like an irritating fly that keeps buzzing around our ears, “You’d better hurry. So-and-so is waiting!” Or, “You’d better not glance in the window of that shoe shop because there will be hell to pay if so-and-so has to wait any longer!”

You get my drift. I love those who wait for me, wherever I am, and wherever I’ve gone. But I also love the glorious freedom that comes—once in a while—when no one is wondering where I am or when I will resurface. It’s a heady feeling just to dawdle and “take my time,” knowing that time is exactly that: for the taking.